MySQL Works to Broaden Storage Options for Its DB

Inks deal with IBM as it develops new Falcon data engine

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- MySQL AB is continuing its efforts to increase the number of storage engines available to users of its open-source database through an internal project and a deal to make the software available on a seemingly unlikely hardware platform: IBMs venerable System i server line.

That agreement, which was announced at MySQLs annual user conference here last week, will enable System i users to tap into the growing number of applications written for the MySQL software. And the System i version of IBMs DB2 database, which is integrated with the midrange lines operating system as a standard feature, will be certified as a storage engine for MySQL.

Meanwhile, MySQL officials provided more details about the development of a homegrown storage engine code-named Falcon that is expected to be ready for release next year. Senior software architect Jim Starkey said MySQL plans to make Falcon act like an in-memory database as much as possible in order to minimize disk reads and writes.

Database Developments

MySQL is working on the following upgrades of its namesake software:

MySQL 5.1

•  New features include partitioning and row-based replication.

•  In beta now; a commercial release is expected in Q4.MySQL 6.0

•  Will include MySQLs own storage engine, called Falcon.

•  In alpha now; a beta release is due in Q4, with shipments expected to follow in 2008.

MySQLs database is built on a modular architecture that lets users tie it to different storage engines. MySQL announced plans to develop Falcon and to make it easier for other vendors to create data stores for the database a year ago, after Oracle Corp. acquired the developers of two MySQL storage engines, including InnoDB, the most widely used one.

Meeting a Need

Randy Dufault, president of Common, a System i user group, said the addition of support for MySQL certainly fulfills a need for companies that run the IBM midrange servers.

The PHP open-source scripting language became available on the System i line over the past year and just caught fire, said Dufault, who works as a principal engineer at Minneapolis-based systems integrator MBS Technologies Inc. Adding MySQL was the next logical step, he said, because much of the PHP-based software now in use was written to work with that database.

Since DB2 will still be used to store data, Dufault doesnt expect MySQL to be hard for most System i users to install. The software is an extension of what we have now just another option, he noted.

Joanna Power, a software development engineer at Cozi Group Inc., said the Seattle-based developer of an online calendar application runs MySQL on its back-end transaction and data warehouse systems. Cozi uses InnoDB to store data, but Power was intrigued by what she heard about Falcon last week.

Disks arent getting any faster, Power said. By its nature, Falcon will be more complicated than InnoDB is, she acknowledged. But Power added that she trusts Starkeys development team to do it right.

Falcon will be the most significant new feature in MySQL 6.0, the next major release of the open-source database, according to MySQL CEO Marten Mickos. He said that Falcons developers reached a milestone two weeks ago when they finished eliminating top-priority bugs from an alpha version of the storage engine.

IBM will also sell service and support subscriptions for the MySQL Enterprise database via its reseller network and System i sales team. MySQL officials hope that will help the database vendor gain more paying customers. During his keynote speech at last weeks conference, Mickos said MySQL has just one paying user for every thousand that dont pay.

China Martens of the IDG News Service contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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